In 1974 partners H. Norton Stevens head of E.C.L and William Berlin, who was head of CMI joined forces called the business Norlin or Gibson Norlin. Which combined the syllables of the partner's sir names.
I certainly do not mean to deride the reputation of either of these gentlemen. Mr. Berlin was CEO of the giant music conglomerate CMI.
H. Norton Stevens was a graduate of Harvard. After leaving Gibson due to a hostile take over, he was appointed to the Inter-America Foundation by President G. H. W. Bush.
FYI, Rooney Pace had ongoing issues at the time needed to clean their own house. Three years after selling Gibson, Rooney Pace, it's president, Randolph Rooney and five executives were fined, censured and expelled from the N.A.S.D (Nasdaq) for stock manipulation.
But I am going too far ahead in the Norlin story. It was in the beginning of the Norlin era that Gibson left Kalamazoo Michigan and moved their headquarters to Nashville Tennessee.
I am of the opinion they Gibson Norlin lost the sense of all the wonderful things they were doing right throughout the company's history.
During this era there were a few great instruments made, but Gibson produced some truly weird creations that were not worthy of the same company which built fabulous instruments designed by the likes of Lloyd Loar and Ted McCarty.
I am not certain who the designers were at that time, however it would appear the monkeys took over the shop for a few years, I offer these Bizzaro World creations as evidence.
The Gibson Marauder
In 1975 Gibson introduced the Marauder. This guitar was intended to coincide and compliment the Gibson Grabber Bass guitar. The Marauder never really became well established on the market. The Gibson marauder was introduced in 1975 it was 12 3/4" wide, it has a les Paul shaped single cutaway maple or mahogany body (some with alder bodies), hum bucking pick up in the neck position for rhythm and a single blade pickup in the bridge position at a slant for solo, large pick guard which covers the entire upper body, unbound fingerboard (rosewood), dot inlays and a triangular round top spear shaped headstock like the S-1 and Flying Vee. 2 knobs and a rotary tone selector switch created an interesting tone frequency from the 2 pickups.
In 1976 Gibson also introduced the Gibson marauder custom which featured a three way switch on the cutaway bout, bound fingerboard, block inlays on fingerboard, and were made in tobacco sunburst finishes.
The Gibson S-1
In mid 1975 Gibson produced the Gibson S-1 guitar and released it for sale on the market in 1976.
The Gibson S-1 had very similar features like the marauder , its 12 3/4" wide , has a Les Paul shaped body , bolt on neck , maple or rosewood fingerboard, dot inlay, pointed round headstock similar to a Flying V, stop tailpiece, tune o matic bridge, large pick guard ( pointed at the treble bout ) and 3 single coil pickups.
The guitar actually sounded not bad considering its price , it gives you an original funky , bluesy , strat-type tone from its single coil pickups by playing around with its 2 way toggle and its 4 position rotary switch .
The 3 pickup schemes give the impression this was Gibson’s attempt to cash in on the Strat market.
The Grabber Bass Series
The Gibson Grabber Bass was Gibson’s first bolt on neck bass reminiscent to Fender bass guitars, the movable pickup was an interesting feature that left many bass players intrigued as by manually moving the pickup towards the bridge or neck one could create a deeper thick sound or a very punchy sound. Much of the Grabber’s popularity stemmed from their use by Gene Simmons of Kiss.
The Gibson Corvus Series
The final evidence that Gibson Guitars lost their mind occurred in 1982 in the form of a guitar called the Gibson Corvus.
OK, Latin scholars, Corvus is the Latin word for:
a. A small car produced by Chevrolet that Ralph Nader was not fond of.
b. A tasty snack made of compressed corn.
c. A rather silly looking electric guitar.
If you answered D, you are correct. If you answered C and D, you get extra credit.
Those of you are old enough, you may remember the old fashion can opener that had a curved blade that cut into a cans lid. If you will, envision this shape with 6 strings, pickups, a neck and tuners. This is exactly what the Gibson Corvus resembled.
Gibson decided it was a great idea to produce 3 versions of this silly instrument.
The Corvus 1 had a solid body with an offset v-type cut, bolt on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, volume and tone controls, and one and one hum bucker pickup. The standard finish was silver gloss. However this beauty could be had in other finishes that include yellow and orange. The headstock was 6 on a side similar to the non-reverse Firebird model. The guitar also sported a very unusual bridge design. (They must not have sold well. I can find no pictures of a Covus l)
Gibson also introduced the Gibson Corvus II guitar, the guitar was the same as the Corvus I but with 2 hum buckers and two volume controls, one was a master volume control.
And if you can believe it the Gibson Corvus III electric guitar was the same as the Corvus I, but with three single coil pickups, a five way switch, one master volume and one tone control.
Thankfully in the late 1980's the company was rescued by its present owners.
Gibson Guitar is now a privately held corporation owned by chief executive officer Henry Juszkiewicz and president David H. Berryman. And once again Gibson has returned to it's roots and is making great instruments.